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COVID-19 vaccine trials underway in the Valley

Posted at 6:53 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 21:53:46-04

Clinical trials for a number of coronavirus vaccines are underway, and the hope is to have one available for the public by 2021, but many are pushing to make sure speed and safety go hand-in-hand.

“Patients are asking me, 'How effective is it going to be?' and, 'Is it safe for me to get? Is it safe for children? Is it safe for pregnant women? Is it safe for elderly seniors?'” said Dr. Andrew Carroll.

Dr. Carroll expects these questions to continue as the world creeps closer to a vaccine to fight the coronavirus.

He says transparency from all the players, the drug companies, the FDA and CDC is crucial.

“And that means the good -- is it 50 percent effective? Is it 90 percent effective? Will it require one shot or two shots? That’s another question, that being answered right now, and what are the side effects,” said Dr. Carroll.

These are questions that look to be answered as three vaccines enter phase three of clinical trials.

“There’s no use having a vaccine that’s effective if no one wants to take it,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn.

He says while the timeline for a vaccine has been compressed significantly, it’s still facing the same rigorous process.

“We will not cut corners, we realize that the American people put their faith in the FDA, we have the world's best experts looking at this,” said Dr. Hahn.

He says manufacturers are already making the vaccines in huge quantities.

“So that if, not when, but if the FDA decides a vaccine based upon the data and science is safe and effective, they can have vaccine ready to go,” said Dr. Hahn.

Moderna, in partnership with the Hope Research Institute, is lining up volunteers from across Arizona for their phase three trial.

“We’ve had several thousand people reach out to us,” said Hope Research Institute CEO Dr. Nathan Alderson.

Dr. Alderson says they hope to enroll as many local participants as they can for the Moderna trial.

“We do need more people that are at higher risk, so healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store clerks,” explained Dr. Alderson.

They also need more volunteers from minority communities.

Enrollment continues until August, and they hope to inject their first volunteer next week.

Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca are expected to begin their own phase three vaccine trials in the state within the next few weeks.

To volunteer for the clinical trial visit or call 602-288-HOPE